My, my. Another Kennedy bombed out of his gourd crawls into a car and crashes. How original.
But U.S. Rep. Patrick Kennedy’s pathetic tale of getting stoned on prescription medication and crashing his car into a Capitol Hill barrier at 2:45 a.m. Thursday because he thought he needed to vote on the House floor sounds a lot like the many different excuses his daddy used many years ago to try and explain his drunken behavior the night he drove off a bridge and swam to safety while one of his girlfriends drowned.
Capitol Police officers say their superiors ordered them to stop investigating the accident and to drive the stoned Patrick Kennedy home. Their bosses refused to allow a sobriety test on young Kennedy although they did cite him for three minor traffic violations. Without a sobriety test, however, he evaded charges for the more serious infraction of driving under the influence.
Kennedy claims he took Phenergan, a prescribed anti-nausea medication, as well as Ambien, prescription sleeping pills. Phenergan is sometimes used as an antihistamine, a sedative or a sleep aid. Both drugs had been prescribed by the attending physician of the Capitol, who hands out powerful prescription drugs like candy to any lawmaker who asks for them. The Phenergan, Kennedy claimed, was prescribed this week as treatment for a gastrointestinal problem and he claimed the Ambien had been “prescribed by the attending physician some time ago” to help him sleep.
“Following the last series of votes on Wednesday evening,” Kennedy said in a prepared statement released many hours after the Thursday morning crash, “I returned to my home on Capitol Hill and took the prescribed amount of the two drugs. Some time around 2:45 a.m. I drove the few blocks to the Capitol complex believing I needed to vote. Apparently, I was disoriented from the medication.”
His “disorientation” led him to almost crash into a Capitol Hill police car and then to try and elude police before slamming his Mustang into a barrier.
Those who know Patrick Kennedy best say disorientation is business as usual. The Rhode Island congressman is known as a lightweight, even by Kennedy standards, and often appears under the influence of drugs or booze or both.
So it’s not surprising he drove his car into a barrier in the wee hours of the morning while thinking he needed to vote in a House that wasn’t in session. Hell, some say Kennedy has trouble finding the House floor in daylight hours.
This tawdry tale tells us a lot about how Capitol Hill works.
This is, after all, the Capitol Hill where all a member of Congress has to do to get drugs is call up the attending physician’s office and ask for them. No exam, no appointment and, of course, the drugs are free.
And this is the Capitol Hill patrolled by the politicized Capitol Police, a department where kid gloves replace nightsticks and certain members of Congress get preferential treatment. I say certain because a rich white boy like Pat Kennedy gets a ride home while a mouthy black woman like Cynthia McKinney gets pushed around because runs into some cops who just don’t like black women with attitude.
Some now raise questions on whether or not Kennedy got preferential treatment.
Of course he did.
An ordinary citizen gets handcuffed, blood tested and forced to prove in court whether or not he was drunk or stoned and why.
But not on Capitol Hill where the laws that affect the rest of us don’t apply to the elected officials.
And Patrick Kennedy has two get out of jail free cards. He’s a member of Congress and a member of a political family known for raising troublemakers who disobey the law at will and escape punishment.
Another Kennedy, another late-night car crash, another lame excuse.
At least this time nobody died.
(WRITER’S NOTE: It you want to do good in this country, count on a major league case of writer’s cramp, paperwork blues and payouts to lawyers. For the past six weeks, I’ve been up to my ass in paperwork and lawyers trying to put together a new grassroots organization aimed at serious reform of the political and government system that I believe are destroying this nation. We planned to launch this week with a fair amount of hoopla, a new web site and what we hoped would be the start of serious discussion of the many problems that beset this country. We will launch – if we ever finish up the paperwork, dot the last “i,” cross the last “t,” register with the final federal or state agency and pay the last lawyer. So please bear with us. We’re almost there.)